Bacon Ranch Potato Salad

My sister-in-law made this potato salad this past weekend for a belated 4th of July celebration.  It was a nice twist on potato salad which, let’s face it, can be a little boring.

Bacon Ranch Potato Salad | A Nerd Cooks

The recipe originally comes from Betty Crocker’s website.

You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 lb small red potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chives or green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup bacon, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium sauce pan, place the potatoes and salt.  Add just enough water to cover the potatoes.  Heat the water until it boils.  Reduce the heat and then simmer 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.  Drain and rinse with cool water.

Put potatoes in a large bowl.  Add the tomatoes, celery, chives/green onions, and bacon.  Stir in the ranch dressing.  Salt and pepper to taste.

This can be served warm or cold.


Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

So I realized that I haven’t been posting any Thanksgiving recipes.  That’s probably because I don’t cook the Thanksgiving dinner around these parts.  It’s almost always my mom (or my aunt, this year) and Sean’s mom that do the cooking.  I found this recipe for make ahead mashed potatoes on the blog  If you haven’t been there yet, please check it out.  She always has some really great stuff.  

In case anyone out there is in need of a last minute recipe for their holiday table, or if you just want to save yourself some time and hassle on the day of, take this recipe into consideration.  I made it to go along with my Crock Pot Kielbasa, Pork, and Sauerkraut (sauerkraut swirled up with mashed potatoes = amazing) this past weekend.  

This recipe has been adapted slightly from the original.  You can really fudge the amounts if you want, until you get something that you enjoy.

You’ll need:

2 pounds of potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
1/2 cup of milk, warmed
1/2 stick of butter, room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp cream of tartar 

Start the potatoes and cauliflower in cold, salted water.  Bring to a boil.  Boil until a fork can be inserted into the potatoes and cauliflower easily.  Drain them in a colander.

Now you can either run your potatoes and cauliflower through a ricer, a food mill, or just whip them up really well with a handheld mixer.  I opted for the mixer, since that’s all that I have.  Put your vegetables in a bowl and whip them up really well with the mixer until they’re fluffy.  Add the butter, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and cream of tartar.  Add about half of your milk. Whip everything up again, and add more milk if needed.  Stop to taste everything.  Taste some more if you need to.  I won’t tell.

Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and spread the potato mixture into it.  At this point you can either bake straight away (preheat to 350 degrees F and bake for about 30 minutes) or wrap it up, place in the fridge, and bake the next day.  If you opt to bake it the next day, just make sure to take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature or it will take forever to warm up in the oven.

I have to tell you, these potatoes are awesome!  They’re really fluffy (thanks to the cream of tartar) and creamy, and taste amazing.  I think my adaptations from the original recipe are pretty obvious… but I had to scale it down by about half since I was only feeding 4 people for dinner (and wanted some leftovers, but not a ton), and added some cauliflower.  I’d love to say that I was attempting to be somewhat health conscious with that addition, but in reality I had that cauliflower in the fridge and it probably wasn’t going to get used if I didn’t do this.  Ultimately it was an excellent call.
If you want to make your Thanksgiving dinner prep a little easier on yourself, please consider adding these potatoes to your menu!  Anything that can be done the night before will surely help out with your stress level just prior to dinner time.  Enjoy! =)